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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Article 9 Essay by Yoko Fujimoto

(Another essay by Yoko Fujimoto, a UBC exchange student from Chuo University in Tokyo.)
The need to save pacifism in Japan

Yoko Fujimoto

Pacifism is one of the most important principles of the Constitution of Japan, which is supported by Article 9. Although, there are many countries that tout pacifism around the world, Article 9 is unique to Japan in terms of the abandonment of any kind of war including self-defense. However, in recent years, the Japanese Government tends to erode the decisiveness of Article 9.

In the year 1999, the bill that bring Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation into force become law. According the new law, if a crisis happens near Japan, not only the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and government offices, but also municipalities and private hands have to contribute to the US Amy. Although the state primarily shoulders responsibility to protect ordinary people, this law makes it possible to mobilize the population in part of the US Army and threaten their ordinary life. Moreover, the Japanese Government is considering changing Article 9 itself.

It is true that Japan is protected by the US and there is some contradiction between Article 9 and the status quo, however revision of Article 9 is not the appropriate way to put an end to these problems. The most important thing is to save this unique pacifism of Japan for both its citizen and the world. Since the wars led by the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan show that war is not successful way to achieve peace, Japan should not follow the US any more in terms of military affairs. Rather, Japan should defend Article 9 and its unique pacifism, and contribute to spread peace in different way. What Japan should do is not to think about changing Article 9 but about various means to achieve peace in the world apart from military forces.

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